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Chapter 13 Spirituality, Religion, and the Supernatural.

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1 Chapter 13 Spirituality, Religion, and the Supernatural

2 Worldview The collective body of ideas that members of a culture generally share concerning the ultimate shape and substance of their reality.

3 Religion Organized belief in the supernatural. Fulfill numerous social and psychological needs. No known group of people anywhere on the face of the earth, at any time over the past 100,000 years, have been without religion.

4 What Are Religion and Spirituality? Religion is an organized system of ideas about spiritual reality, or the supernatural, along with associated beliefs and ceremonial practices. Spirituality, which also concerns the supernatural, involves less formalized spiritual beliefs and practices and is often individual rather than collective.

5 Religion All cultures have religion –Deals with supernatural on some level –Some cultures do not have a specific word for religion, it is tied to everyday life –Religion is tied to the natural world

6 Religion and Symbols Religion has symbols –Actions, words, ideas, objects that represent something else –Symbols put together become a system of knowledge

7 Myths Sacred stories with supernatural explanations A culture will see their myths as real Usually concerns ideology and worldview

8 Rituals Anything you do in a repetitive nature Religion has rituals 2 types of rituals –Calendric –Crisis

9 Supernatural The supernatural is around you all of the time, especially in non-industrialized societies In a lot of cultures, health, wealth and daily things are related to supernatural.

10 Forms of Religion Animatism – impersonal – impersonal power that exists out there – does not care about people Deitys – Cares about people –Different forms Anthropomorphic Zoomorphic Biomorphic Most cultures are polytheistic

11 Dealing with Supernatural Religion per se system – supernatural very removed and powerful Magic per se system – deals with things on a small scale –Uses recipes –2 ways to use magic – Contagious – obtain something from a person Imitative – imitate desired effect

12 Functions of Religion Explain things Establish order Justifies things Provides support Socializes people Vehicle for passage

13 Theories of Religion Cognitive – give sense of meaning and purpose to the world Psychological – how people cope with stress Social Function – Looks at socialization and cohesiveness. Promotes conformity.

14 Non-industrial Cultures Supernatural intervenes all of the time –Breaking a taboo –Angered ancestor spirit –Someone using magic

15 Levels of Religion Individualistic – individual has direct contact with supernatural Shamanistic – Shaman(s) deals with supernatural Communal system – a lot of part-time specialists –Ancestor worship –Totem worship

16 Levels of Religion (con’t) Ecclesiastical – religious bureaucracy. Full-time religious specialists

17 Examples of Religion Australian Aborigines and Dream Time Maori of New Zealand

18 Major Religions of the World

19 Anthropological Approach to Religion Religion is an organized system of ideas about the spiritual sphere, along with ceremonial practices by which people try to interpret and/or influence aspects of the universe otherwise beyond their control. Spirituality is also concerned with the sacred, as distinguished from material matters, but it is often individual rather than collective and does not require a distinctive format or traditional organization.

20 Polytheism Belief in several gods and/or goddesses (as contrasted with monotheism–belief in one god or goddess). Pantheon –The several gods and goddesses of a people. Animism –A belief in spirit beings thought to animate nature.

21 Judeo-Christian Theology The patriarchal nature of Euramerican society is expressed in its Judeo-Christian theology, in which a supreme male deity gives life to the first man, as depicted here on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Only later is the first woman created from the first man.

22 Sacred Places Pilgrims at Mount Kailash in Tibet. Rising 22,000 feet, this mountain has been held sacred for thousands of years by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and followers of Bön. Year after year pilgrims follow the ancient tradition of circling the mountain on foot, a holy ritual they believe will remove sin and bring good fortune.

23 Rites of Passage Arnold Van Gennep rites of passage into the following: –Rites of separation –Rites of transition –Rites of incorporation

24 Rites of Passage Rites of separation –In rites of passage, the ritual removal of the individual from society. Rites of transition –In rites of passage, isolation of the individual following separation and prior to incorporation into society.

25 Rites of Passage Rites of incorporation –In rites of passage, reincorporation of the individual into society in his or her new status. Rites of intensification –Religious rituals enacted during a group’s real or potential crisis.

26 Rites of Intensification Rituals to mark occasions of crisis in the life of the group. Functions: –Unite people. –Allay fear of the crisis. –Prompt collective action.

27 Witchcraft An explanation of events based on the belief that certain individuals possess an innate psychic power capable of causing harm, including sickness and death. Divination –A magical procedure for determining the cause of a particular event, such as illness, or foretelling the future.

28 Functions of Witchcraft Effective way for people to explain away personal misfortune without having to shoulder any of the blame themselves. Provides an outlet for feelings of hostility and frustration without disturbing the norms of the larger group.

29 Revitalization Movements Social movements, often of a religious nature, with the purpose of totally reforming a society.

30 Sufism A Sufi sema (prayer dance) in Istanbul, Turkey. Sufism, a mystical Muslim movement that emerged in the late 10th century, borrowing ideas from Buddhism, Christianity, and Neoplatonism, emphasizes the surrender of individual ego and attachment to worldly things in order to be receptive to God’s grace.

31 Cargo Cult Spiritual movements in Melanesia in reaction to disruptive contact with Western capitalism promising resurrection of deceased relatives, destruction or enslavement of white foreigners, and the magical coming of utopian riches.


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